Start-up Genome (curators of the start-up community) and Telefonica digital (the digital innovatory arm of O2 parent company Telefonica) published a very informative map of the global start-up ecosystem. Tel Aviv ranked 2nd (right after Silicon Valley) with London ranking 7th, Paris surprisingly 11th and Berlin coming in at 15th.
With this in mind we believe that within a few years Toulouse could also fare well amongst its bigger rivals, but first we need to check out its profile.
Toulouse: Local Profile (Figures from INSEE 2009):
• Urban population: 440,400 inhabitants 4th largest in France after Paris, Marseille and Lyon
• Density 3,722/ km2 (9,638 sq miles)
• With an average growth rate of +1.87% p.a. within the metropolitan areas we are witnessing a city growing more culturally diverse.
• The local economy is very robust and boasts aerospace, I.T., agronomy and biotechnology as its key inhabitant industries.
• Education appears high on its credentials with having the third largest student population and being voted the best city to study in France by French Newspaper “L’Etudiant”.
Toulouse: Potential strengths
The start-up ecosystem report published late last year condemned Paris for not being exactly ‘yet much of a magnet for out of town entrepreneurs’, in other words Paris is failing to attract talent from abroad, which is an important condition permitting an ecosystem like Silicon Valley to grow.
Here’s where we think Toulouse could have an advantage.
With a near bridge to the Iberica coast we believe that Toulouse is correctly situated to attract ‘out of town entrepreneurs’. We look to the north of Spain for entrepreneurial activity.
On an earlier exploration to Bilbao’s start-up ecosystem last year, we met with several entrepreneurs and marketing academics who told us a lot about the growing phenomenon of entrepreneurship and innovation within the region. This came with startling facts of youth unemployment, up by a staggering 50% in 2012.
With Bilbao only 441 km away from Toulouse we believe that both regions could leverage off of their close proximity in an effort to boost levels of entrepreneurship and innovation.
Now let’s take a look at Toulouse’s local start-ups:
SIGFOX (mentioned in our previous article) secured a €10 million series B funding in September last year led by Intel Capital (the corporate venturing unit of US-based chipmaker Intel) together with existing investors Elaia Partners, Partech Ventures International and Ixo Private Equity. SIGFOX is one of the 150 investment deals secured in 2012 by Intel. (Source: Global Corporate Venturing)
NOOMEO (another member of the TIC Valley, specialising in building and selling 3D scanning solutions) agreed on a strategic partnership with CIMPA a major international company in PLM (Product Life Cycle Management) wholly owned by AIRBUS.
At the beginning of January it was announced that this agreement will provide a brand new service, combining ‘iDamageFolio’ (CIMPA’s software) and NOOMEO’s 3D Technology.
Here’s how it works:
In an unfortunate event of ‘AOG’ (Aircraft on Ground), every single airline operator using AIRBUS’s aircrafts can rely on this service to quickly assess/ measure the extent of the aircraft’s structural damage. Acquired last year by ERCO Finances, NOOMEO will now be opened to AIRBUS’s global market reach.
3) VIHA Concept
Despite having to secure funding outside of Toulouse’s borders Laurent Villerouge in his start-up, VIHA Concept designed a sidewalk named Trotelec, which captures the energy created by our daily movements and used it to generate power for street lighting. He eventually sold his IP to Harvest NRG (a Californian based energy firm) for an undisclosed sum last year.
In addition to the above examples below are a few other start-ups who recently secured funding in the month of January:
•Phonitive, mobile software development start-up raised €400k from Capitole
Angels and DP Invest.
•BuyBox, social payment solution provider for on-line retailers raised €1.7 million from Venture Capital firms IRIS Capital and Midi Capital.
•UBLEAM (resident at TIC Valley), creators of a customised 3D technology which is an alternative to QR code for mobile marketing raised €550k from two family offices in the luxury industry and retail sector.
After much evaluation of Toulouse’s value chain ecosystem and the ‘clusters’ that are beginning to emerge, we think it’s fair to say that the future is looking pretty bright for the ‘pink city’. Toulouse is a burgeoning city with strong links to the global economy, a solid infrastructure, a growing multicultural diverse population (attracting outsiders from other regions) and not to mention an excellent educational system. All of which are key factors contributing towards the development and growth of a successful start-up ecosystem. However at the top end of the chain lie the two most important components, ‘talent’ and ‘funding’. These two elements need to coincide to increase the numbers of ‘clusters’ eventually contributing towards a strong ecosystem.
All of our thoughts, analysis and opinions are based on research that we have developed after reading, listening and meeting only a few but rather important key players within the local ecosystem. As our journey comes to an end we would like to say a huge thank you to you all.
For all those other aspiring starts ups, privately or publicly funded incubators/accelerators and academic initiatives that we’ve not mentioned, feel free to tell us about them, we will be happy to spread the word.
To round things up ‘Le Camping Toulouse’ will be opening the second edition of its program in May and is currently welcoming applications from all over the world .
Stay tuned to LAB58 for further updates if you happen to be interested.
‘Toulouse is so tech…’